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Airport News - North America.

Oct 29, 2007

Controller retirements surge in dispute. In the 12 months ending Sept. 30, a total of 828 controllers retired, about 29% more than predicted. FAA said estimating retirements is tricky, because controllers aren't forced to retire until 56 but are eligible at any age if they have 25 years service. The FAA said the hiring total exceeded the year's target, but conceded it includes more than 3,000 controllers in training who cannot handle all work stations at their facility. We're getting a lot of enthusiastic recruits," said Acting Administrator Bobby Sturgell. "Controller hiring, training and staffing is a major priority, and we are on track to meet future traffic needs." Oct 25, 2007

FAA says GPS network will ease congestion, delays. Replacing the nation's current air traffic control system with a new network that relies on GPS and advanced avionics will solve the problem of severe flight delays, according to the FAA. "Because it will provide such precise information about where planes are located, we think we'll be able to operate them closer to one another in some parts of the air space," an FAA spokeswoman said. Oct 25, 2007

New machines make security simpler for travelers. A few airports are testing a new screening device that allows travelers to keep their laptops and liquids and gels in their carry-on bags as they pass through security. The new machines cost about $350,000 each and produce sharp images of what is inside a bag. Oct 25, 2007

DOT threatens to fine chronically late airlines. The Transportation Department is considering levying fines against airlines for flights that are at least 15 minutes late 70% of the time, saying that the carriers are engaging in deceptive business practices. Oct 24, 2007

IEEE calls for papers on homeland security technology. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is seeking papers to be presented at its international conference in May. Technologies of interest include software security, CBRNE with a focus on transportation infrastructure, surveillance and risk assessment. Oct 24, 2007

NASA study methodology questionable. The FAA weighed in on the controversy surrounding the NASA study that purportedly shows a greater prevalence of aviation safety issues than generally is reported. FAA officials have not seen the study, which NASA has declined to release, but say they have questions about its methodology and whether the data collected actually are usable. Oct 24, 2007

The TSA has awarded a contract to Reveal Imaging Technologies for up to 40 of its Fusion security systems. The systems utilize X-rays and 3-D imaging and will be used to scan carry-on bags for weapons and contraband. The contract could be worth up to $80 million for two years Oct 24, 2007

Controversy builds over NASA's refusal to release safety survey data. Aviation experts and members of Congress assailed NASA yesterday, criticizing the agency for refusing to release the results of a telephone survey of 20,000 pilots. NASA officials told the Associated Press, which had requested the data, that the information could not be released because it could shake public confidence in the airline industry. A NASA spokesman yesterday said that denying the request on those grounds "was probably not the best thing to do." Oct 23, 2007

FAA takes multi-pronged approach to reducing runway incursions. Better runway markings and more training are helping to reduce the incidence of runway incursions from 31 to 24 last year, according to FAA officials. The agency says that more advanced technology that is still in the pipeline will improve the situation even more. An FAA spokeswoman says that certification of an own-ship cockpit display likely will occur within the next six months. Oct 23, 2007

US FAA officials were forced to spend much of yesterday's briefing on runway safety responding to questions concerning reports that NASA conducted a comprehensive pilot survey revealing that near midair collisions and runway incursions occur twice as often as FAA data show. According to an Associated Press report, NASA spent $8.5 million commissioning telephone interviews with about 24,000 commercial and GA pilots in 2002-05. But the agency has not released the results and AP reported that it recently ordered the surveyor "to purge all related data from its computers." NASA Associate Administrator Thomas Luedtke said in a statement cited by AP that the survey's results "could materially affect the public confidence in and the commercial welfare of" airlines. Oct 23, 2007

NASA holds back air safety survey results. NASA has refused to release to the Associated Press the results of a series of surveys conducted for the agency on air safety. "Release of the requested data, which are sensitive and safety-related, could materially affect the public confidence in, and the commercial welfare of, the air carriers and general aviation companies whose pilots participated in the survey," a NASA official wrote in a final denial letter to the AP. Oct 22, 2007

Chicago Midway Airport

Hochtief AirPort intends to bid on Chicago Midway Airport if privatization plans for the facility go forward. The company has interests in airports around the world valued at $1.7 billion. Oct 24, 2007

Chicago O'Hare International

Transportation Secretary Mary Peters called the two-day scheduling meeting after President George W Bush ordered her to devise a strategy to improve airline service and cut delays, which are on a record pace in 2007. Chicago O'Hare, where peak-hour flights were reduced three years ago to ease delays, is the only other US airport that operates under the "Level 3" congestion designation. At the meeting starting Tuesday Oct. 23, domestic airlines will discuss New York JFK scheduling for the busy spring and summer season, the most lucrative for carriers. Oct 23, 2007

Chicago O'Hare International, United Airlines, American Airlines

United Airlines and American Airlines are looking to maintain their dominance at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport by acquiring new slots that will be created when a new runway opens up. Supporters of the two carriers say the airlines deserve the coveted slots because they accepted scheduling caps to reduce delays in 2004. Opponents say competition will be inhibited if the two large airlines are awarded more slots. Oct 22, 2007

Delta Air Lines, New York

Delta's home may be in Atlanta, but the company has set its sights on creating a major presence in the New York market. The carrier is touting its refurbished JFK terminals and has appointed a vice president to oversee customer service at that airport. "Delta has to be here. If we didn't think we could win, we wouldn't be here," said a Delta spokeswoman. Oct 22, 2007

Hochtief AirPort, Chicago Midway

Hochtief AirPort, the airport investment and management unit of the global construction services firm, expects to put in a bid for Chicago Midway if, as is expected, the city moves forward with plans to privatize the airport proposed by Mayor Richard Daley last year. Hochtief AirPort has extensive experience in the field, having participated in full and partial privatizations of Athens, Budapest, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Sydney and Tirana airports. The unit was formed in 1997 and has an airport portfolio valued at approximately [euro]1.2 billion ($1.7 billion). Oct 24, 2007

Los Angeles International

FAA chief says LAX runway needs to be moved. Acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell says the two northern runways at Los Angeles International Airport are too close together and need to be reconfigured. "We'd like to see something done on the north side," he said. "...I think the geometry is flawed and has to be fixed." Oct 23, 2007

Miami International

List of risky airports includes two in South Florida: Federal officials say their list of the 20 airports most at risk for runway incursions includes two in South Florida -- Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and Miami International. Records show that since October 2006 there have been four runway incidents at the Fort Lauderdale airport and five at the Miami airport. Oct 23, 2007

New York John F. Kennedy International

Coalition opposing JFK flight caps to hold news conference. The Air Transport Association, Port Authority and groups representing passengers and business groups are holding a news conference today to express their opposition to a government plan to impose flight scheduling caps at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The groups say limiting flights will hurt business without easing congestion. Oct 26, 2007

New York John F. Kennedy International

Governors come out against caps at JFK. The governors of New Jersey and New York yesterday sent a letter to DOT Secretary Mary Peters, going on record as opposing schedule caps at JFK Airport. The plan would be a "crippling blow" to the region, they say, and would worsen delays at Newark International. Oct 26, 2007

New York John F. Kennedy International

FAA Acting Administrator Bobby Sturgell yesterday was nominated by President George W. Bush to succeed Marion Blakey, whose five-year term as administrator expired last month. Dept. of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters urged Sturgell's confirmation, saying the former deputy administrator "has worked tirelessly. . .to fight congestion and modernize our aviation system while preserving the safest period in aviation on record." Air Transport Assn. lent its support despite the current row over proposed schedule caps at New York JFK. Oct 24, 2007

New York John F. Kennedy International

Commercial airlines reacted strongly to suggestions by Department of Transportation officials that dramatic schedule cuts or congestion pricing be implemented to solve the congestion problems at John F. Kennedy International Airport. "Scheduling a meeting is a perfectly appropriate approach, but not when done with a meat ax," said an industry spokesman, who suggested the airline industry would strike back if such measures were imposed. Oct 24, 2007

New York John F. Kennedy International

Airlines, Port Authority object to threatened schedule reductions at JFK: Airline executives were not pleased to hear that government officials are considering schedule reductions at JFK as a solution to air congestion in the New York airport, noting that customers are demanding the high number of flights. "Placing artificial constraints on the country's premier international gateway is not in the best interest of Delta customers," said a Delta spokesman. Oct 23, 2007

New York John F. Kennedy International

Daily operations at New York JFK increased 41 percent from March 2006 to August 2007 compared with the same period a year earlier. At the same time, on-time arrivals fell from 69 percent to 61 percent. Delays exceeding more than one hour were up 114 percent. This past summer, weekday demand at 4 p.m., the busiest time of the day, was more than 110 scheduled arrivals and departures. Airlines exceeded the airport's capacity at other times of the day as well, the FAA said. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York JFK's operator, said the FAA's proposal would cut flights to levels not seen since the late 1960s and hurt business. Oct 23, 2007

New York John F. Kennedy International

Schedule changes at New York JFK would affect airlines including JetBlue Airways and Delta Air Lines. JetBlue is based at JFK, while Delta has a major hub there. Other carriers also operate there but have fewer flights. According to the FAA, preliminary flight schedule information for summer 2008 shows that airlines plan to increase flights at JFK. The agency wants no more than 80 flights per hour between 6 a.m. and 2:59 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. From 3 p.m. to 7:59 p.m., the cap would be 81. Oct 23, 2007

New York John F. Kennedy International

US Puts Pressure On Airlines To Cut JFK Schedules. The US government pressured airlines on Monday to cooperate with efforts to reduce delays at New York's John F Kennedy Airport by ensuring it can impose schedule cuts if carriers fail to act voluntarily. In a regulatory filing one day before the Transportation Department convenes an unusual New York JFK scheduling conference with the airlines, the Federal Aviation Administration gave the facility its rarely used worst congestion rating. The designation ensures schedule reductions for spring and summer travel will occur whether airlines agree to them or not. It also formally extends FAA authority to cut schedules of overseas carriers at JFK, if necessary. Dozens of international airlines operate flights there, including British Airways and Air France KLM. Delays at Kennedy and other New York area airports can affect flights nationally. The FAA already limits the number of takeoffs and landings at LaGuardia, which is close to JFK. Oct 23, 2007

New York John F. Kennedy International

DOT goal: 20% fewer flights during JFK peak periods. The Transportation Department has said that if next week's talks with aviation industry leaders don't result in voluntary schedule reductions at JFK, the agency may step in and impose schedule caps. Oct 22, 2007

New York Newark Liberty International

Cutting flights at JFK could make congestion worse at Newark airport: Efforts to ease congestion at John F. Kennedy International Airport could have the unintended side effect of worsening delays at nearby airports -- including Newark Liberty International Airport. Acting Federal Aviation Administrator Robert Sturgell said he was "concerned about spillover" to other New York-area airports. Oct 24, 2007

Northwest Airlines, Detroit Metropolitan Airport

Northwest Airlines awarded the Jervis B. Webb Co. and Alberici Constructors a $29 million contract to install baggage handling, in-line explosive detection systems and related equipment at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. The project, which also calls for updates to more than 1.2 miles of conveyors, is scheduled for completion by March 2009. Oct 24, 2007

Ontario International

Air-traffic control operations running smoothly amid wildfires. The FAA said air delays were "minimal" at airports near areas with active wildfires. High winds at LA/Ontario International Airport forced six planes to land at other airports, but no other diversions were required, an FAA spokesman said. Officials are hopeful the San Diego TRACON facility will continue operations without interruption. Oct 24, 2007

Phoenix

New rule creates more space for commercial flights in Phoenix. A new rule that goes into effect today will create more room for commercial planes flying in and out of the Phoenix airport. FAA officials say the new rules will improve efficiency and safety, but private pilots criticized the new rule because it will force them to fly lower. Oct 25, 2007

Seattle Tacoma International

Sea-Tac's baggage conveyor behind schedule, over budget. The cost of Sea-Tac Airport's new baggage conveyor belt system has jumped from about $139 million to $231 million. The Port of Seattle pointed to the project's complexity and said delays were made worse by contractor mistakes. The contractor, G&T Conveyor, says poor design, bad construction management and continuous changes are behind the delays and cost overruns. Oct 23, 2007

Washington Dulles Airport

Part of Washington's Dulles Airport was evacuated for more than an hour on Monday after a potentially suspicious item was found at the main screening area, forcing the checkpoint's closure, officials said. Authorities had ordered the airport's ticketing area of the airport evacuated until a bomb squad checked the package and cleared it, the Transportation Security Administration said. United Airlines had been holding some outgoing flights, but no incoming flights at the airport were affected, Treadaway said. Oct 23, 2007

ZZ

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Date:Oct 29, 2007
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